London-based startup Manual wants to challenge outdated notions of masculinity – encouraging men to talk openly, and take control of their health and happiness. Just founded in July 2018, the startup has announced the closing of a €5.6 million seed round from Felix Capital, Cherry Ventures, and Cassius Capital to establish it’s new holistic men’s wellbeing platform.
The website launches today, with a vision is to improve the everyday lives of men by providing knowledge and solutions for every part of their wellbeing. Nearly 90% of men don’t seek help unless they have a serious problem, according to the National Pharmacy Association.
The goal is to change habits in the way men understand and fix their problems. Manual will provide users with products, services and content, using a holistic approach that will empower them to take action and deal with a problem, in the way they want. The company is starting by tackling two common problems: erectile dysfunction and hair loss.
Approximately 40% of men are affected by erectile dysfunction by age 40 , and men have a 20% chance of hair loss in their 20s, and a 30% chance in their 30s. While initially focusing on these two issues, Manual will later expand the platform to include solutions and knowledge on everything from sex to skin, hair, and general wellbeing.
The company was co-founded by marketing expert George Pallis, who played a critical role in the rapid growth of both Transferwise and Deliveroo, and Michalis Gkontas, a serial entrepreneur who successfully built and exited Forky to Vivartia in 2018. The two friends came together to develop a direct to consumer brand that would have a positive impact on customers and was based on their own passions and learnings.
George Pallis, CEO and Co-Founder of Manual, commented: “From personal experience we had both been deep in the startup world for a while, and though it was an incredibly rewarding journey, the level of intensity and hard work required meant we were not looking after our wellbeing. That lack of focus on your health is seen in men of all backgrounds and industries, and our personal concerns were echoed by our colleagues and friends in the startup community. It’s no secret that as men we aren’t always the most open or quick to act when we have a personal, health or aesthetic issue. From just saying ‘everything is ok’ and cracking on with life when we’re busy, to the information overload we experience when we ask Google, there are many reasons we don’t help ourselves sooner.
Pallis continued: “We wanted a trustworthy, convenient, and simple platform, so we built one. A single destination that makes today’s man take charge and make decisions about his well being. Manual is here for men to be better at helping themselves and to speak to the man of today. Our mission is for Manual to support a new positive direction for modern masculinity.”
The seed round will be invested in the development and growth of the platform, as well as to scale the team, split between its headquarters in London, and a technical team in Athens, and for further European expansion.
Frederic Court, Partner at Felix Capital, commented: “Imagine a world where men are good to themselves and those around them. Ask any man how or when he takes care of himself, and the answers you get are eye opening. Simply put, we’re bad at it. From worrying we’ll be judged by society to brands talking to us in the wrong way, there are plenty of reasons why we don’t look after ourselves. Manual is on a clear mission to change this, and make it easier for men to understand their problems and fix them. We know Manual can help and we want to support the exceptional team on delivering this vision of improving the wellbeing of men.”
By the way: If you’re interested to join a fast-growing startup like Manual, make sure to check out the EU-Startups Job Board.